"As soon as the soil is made the servant of the city, and not the master partner in civilization, the desert begins.".
- The Earl of Portsmouth, Alternative to Death .
In Iota Unum, Romano Amerio observes that the political conflicts of the 19th century revolved essentially around a single issue: whether or not religion should have an influence on public life, and to what degree public life should be based therefore on the Teaching of the Church. Against those who aimed to secularize social and public life were arrayed a broad range of groups, parties, and organizations imbued with a grasp of the Church's Social Doctrine and committed to bringing it to bear on public life.
Sadly, those then working for secularization have largely succeeded; religion and its influence have been almost totally eliminated from temporal life. What's more, those same parties have since had a great degree of success at eliminating religion even from the Church! That success has given rise in relatively recent years to a cry of protest from the faithful, many of whom are working vigorously to effect a return of orthodoxy to the pulpit, and sanctity to the sanctuary.
Yet there remains the question of effecting the return of order to society, and the return of the natural and moral law to the school, the courtroom, the factory, and the boardroom. A return which is all the more pressing in light of the fact that on the human and natural level it would appear that the Church was induced to compromise with the secular world by precisely that pressure which a secularized world was able to bring to bear on the Church.
If, therefore, we laymen are to aid the Church in returning to Her constant, universal, and very overt profession of the old intransigent and uncompromising Faith, it would seem that the best place to start is in exercising our duty to re-subordinate the world to Christ, and to reconstruct society along lines that conform to the Faith.